The London, Brighton and South Coast Railway reached Newhaven by 1847, and proposals had already been made to extend the line to Seaford. At that time Seaford had been described as consisting of little more than a Church and a cluster of fishing cottages and it was not until late 1864 that the extension was completed. It involved the construction of a about 2½ miles of new trackbed, stations at Bishopstone Halt (at Tidemills)and Seaford and one bridge at the Buckle.
By 1910 Seaford had a number of coal sidings, goods sheds and its own signal box, covering much of the area now taken up by St Crispians. The line was originally single track but was doubled in 1904; later to become singled again in 1975. Strangely enough no one seems to have informed Southern Railway as the station announcements as they still refer to trains leaving from platform 2. The line was electrified in 1935.
By 1939 there were more than 20 boarding schools in the town, and the station has a very long platform to accommodate boarders and their luggage. 7 June 2014 saw the line’s 15th anniversary and the 1951-built steam locomotive “Britannia” hauled a special train to the station.
The extension of the railway to Seaford were considered as early as 1845 before the arrival of the first trains at Newhaven. From the junction at Newhaven Wharf station to Seaford, the course of the line was straightforward with no major hills to negotiate, no tunnelling and only one bridge over the road at the Buckle. The track had to be on an embankment to avoid flooding and to cross the valley immediately adjacent to Seaford station. Seaford was a small place at this time, a few fishing cottages clustered around the church and along the edge of the old quayside.
Dr Tyler Smith and Mr Thomas Crook were active in the development of Seaford and further plans to extend the line were again laid in 1860 and 1861. Public meetings were held and an approach to the London Brighton & South Coast Railway was well received. The line opened in June 1864 with 6 trains per day (three on Sundays) through to London Victoria as an extension of the existing Lewes to Newhaven services.
Further information about the extension of the line to Seaford – see Seaford’s Railway History by Kevin Gordon.
Two 19th century houses are on the site of what used to be Seaford’s workhouse, though they are surrounded by high fences. It’s possible to glimpse them through gaps, though. If you’d like to visit them, this link to Twyn House in Blatchington Road will direct you there.
Otherwise, walk back to the mini-roundabout and turn right, walking down towards the church.